Russia, the 2018 FIFA World Cup hosts, defeated Spain in a penalty shootout in Moscow on Sunday in a second-round game, and soccer fans quickly jumped on social media to claim President Vladimir Putin was behind the team’s surprise victory.

Soccer Fans Think Putin Helped Russia Win In World Cup

Russia are ranked 70th in the world, the lowest in the tournament, but have now advanced to the quarter-finals. They defeated Spain 4-3 in penalties after tying 1-1 in regulation and extra time.

Spain has long been a soccer powerhouse: they won the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, while Russia had never made it past the group stage before this year. Russia has even failed to qualify for three World Cups in the last 20 years: 1998, 2006 and 2010. Russia, which beat Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the first round, will next face Croatia in a quarter-final match on Saturday. Croatia defeated Denmark on Sunday — also in penalties after a 1-1 tie — to reach the quarterfinals.

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According to BBC Sport, Putin called Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov before Sunday’s game and wished him good luck. The nation’s president did not attend the match.

Putin reportedly congratulated the team on their victory, while fans accused him of fixing the game by influencing the video assistant referee’s (VAR) calls during the game.

Memes and other media rapidly started circulating online that joked Putin may have well been behind Russia’s victory. Putin and his administration at the Kremlin are known to have influenced the election of President Donald Trump in the United States in 2016, so it may come as no surprise to fans and reporters that he might have also altered the course of Sunday’s World Cup game:

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